Steeped in soaring dark orange sand dunes, labyrinthine cities and breath taking mosques, Oman is a melting pot of cultural traditions and hypnotising landscapes. With over 1700 kilometres of coastline too – the Sultanate rests majestically on the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea – it also has some of the most stunning and secluded beaches the Arabian Peninsula has to offer. Mix into this hazy heat some truly unforgettable snorkelling and diving spots with a spattering of dramatic coastlines and Oman becomes a must see on any beach lover’s bucket list.
Just as Beach Tomato likes it, Khalouf Beach is far enough south of Muscat to be off the tourist trail. Soaring sand dunes provide the backdrop, local fishermen pitch up along the shore and the beach’s vibrant bird population means eagles will soar above whilst flamingos balance precariously alongside you. The wide sands mean it’s an unbeatably good spot to set up a private camp. A low-slung chaise longue, a couple of flickering lanterns and the soothing sound of the waves will leave you feeling like you’ve just discovered something truly special – and you have.
Hidden in Salalah, southern Oman, Mughsayl Beach possesses a unique charm: it simultaneously leaves you feeling that you could be on a tropical Caribbean beach or dramatic West Australian cliff edge – depending on when you go, that is. Coconut groves and banana plantations grow right up to the water’s edge during the summer yet when rainy season comes, huge waves beat the scorched cliffs and cause dramatic water explosions through blowholes dotted along the beach. Combining beach styles that often require trips to two very different places, Mughsayl Beach has you covered in one Omani click of the fingers.
Located 25 kilometres from Muscat, Bandar Jissah is the perfect remedy for those days when the bustle of Muscat’s souk markets gets too intense. Travel the sweeping coastal road and find alluringly blue waters just catching the rocky hills surrounding the lagoon; the ruggedness of the rock creating a beautiful contrast against the stillness of the sea. Local fishermen’s boats bob silently by the shore and snorkelling opportunities wait just outside the bay.
There’s only so many words we can use to describe just how brilliantly blue the waters are at Tiwi Beach – the result of which is that Tiwi is arguably the best snorkelling spot Oman has to offer. Glistening white sands only add to the appeal and the natural rock pools, some the size of small swimming pools, provide the perfect opportunity to swim in calm waters or try to scoop up a crab. At low tide, take a stroll out to the reef where you can gaze at the coral. Strap on your snorkel and expect to see grouper, rays, sea snakes and batfish.
Ras al Hadd
Ras al Hadd is rich in history and the proud home of a proclaimed green turtle reserve. The beach rests on the eastern tip of Oman, which means that the peak morning slot in which to see turtles hatching – around 4am – can also turn into an opportunity to see the sun rise over this spectacular Arabian country. In terms of its history, human activity on and around Ras al Hadd has been traced back 3000 years BC and the bay also provided a safe haven for ships and planes during WWII.